Google may have killed Stadia, but smartphone gaming isn’t going ANYWHERE. If anything, it’s just begun, with Sony rumored to be thinking of debuting a new handheld PlayStation this year. Meet the SnapJoy, a set of ergonomic controllers that snap onto the corners of your phone (quite like this wild Xbox Cloud mobile gaming concept from a few years ago), turning it into a handheld console quite similar to the Switch or Steam Deck. Unlike the Switch or Steam Deck, however, the SnapJoy turns your trusty smartphone into a comprehensive gaming setup, with easy-to-grip controllers that have all the buttons you need, and a curved design that actually does a precious job of not blocking any part of your screen. The best part? Discreet bumper stickers that you apply to your phone allow it to snap securely onto the SnapJoy controllers, so there’s never any chance of them disengaging during intense gameplay.
Designer: Zak Boardman
Rendered on KeyShot: Click Here to Download Your Free Trial Now!
Designed by Zak Boardman, the beauty of the SnapJoy controllers are the fact that they exist independently as left and right devices that occupy hardly any space, making them easy to carry around in a bag with you wherever you go. Unlike the Steam Deck, which is a pretty massive piece of hardware, these controllers are the size of ergonomic mice, and snap to the phone in your pocket.
The way the SnapJoy controllers attach to your phone is quite brilliant. A rail guides the controllers onto the sides of the phone, with a tight tolerance for a great fit, and a set of powerful magnets help the controllers snap into place, helping them hold their position even if you’re gaming while lying down in bed.
Once snapped in place, they connect to your phone using BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) to work just the way regular wireless controllers do – although there’s a debate about whether that’s wiser than using a WiFi connection, which is a little trickier, but offers much lower latency.
The controllers themselves are fashioned with all the buttons needed for great gameplay, including two joysticks, a D-pad, action buttons, and all four L1/L2 and R1/R2 shoulder buttons. An internal battery in each controller supplies them with power, and a quick glance below also gives us a look at the internal components, which also include a vibration module for haptic feedback during gaming.
As per Boardman’s vision, the SnapJoy controllers come packaged with their own charging case, which holds four controller devices that enable two people to play games at the same time. Contact points within the case help charge each individual SnapJoy controller, and a backlit battery indicator in the case helps you gauge how much juice your controller has.
The SnapJoy controllers are conceptual for now, although Boardman has shown some progress with building 3D mock prototypes of the controller to judge their ergonomics and reliability. Let’s hope we see these in markets soon!